When to Send Wine Back

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Boy, have we heard stories of blowhards who order a bottle of wine and then reject it in a loud and animated fashion so everyone in the restaurant can see how much they know about wine. Who do they think they’re impressing?

Scenes like that make the rest of us reticent about sending a bottle of wine back – even when it’s warranted. So, when is it warranted?

Your Nose Knows

When you stick your nose into your glass to get a good whiff of the wine you ordered, you’ll probably be able to tell if something isn’t right. Rather than being met with the fresh and fruity scent of berries, you’re greeted with smells that can be categorized, at best, as disagreeable.

Nine times out of ten your nose knows. If you’d prefer to rely on your palate, go ahead and taste. It won’t hurt you. It’ll probably confirm what you already know: Anything that smells like that isn’t something you’re about to gag down.

Send Wine Back When You Smell This

Off aromas can remind us of other everyday smells. We just don’t want to smell them in our wine. Here are five aromas to look for. Even a hint of one of them could be good reason to send a wine back.

  • Rotten eggs – from too much sulfur used in making the wine.
  • Nail Polish Remover – due to a bacterial spoilage.
  • Wet Newspaper – resulting from a cork tainted with a chemical called TCA.
  • Burnt Marshmallow – from oxidation when the wine has been stored improperly.
  • Sweaty Horse Blanket – caused by a yeast spoilage know as “brett.”

Rejecting a wine is justifiable when it’s flawed. And you don’t have to be timid about sending it back when you recognize those flaws.


Barbara and Beverly